The divisions pit the church’s president, Dr Aspher Madziyire, against his deputy president, Reverend Cosam Chiyangwa.
The fights are over amendments to the church’s constitution and have seen AFM holding parallel elections to choose new leadership. Rev Chiyangwa’s team held its provincial elections in October to choose a new leadership.
Meanwhile, Dr Madziyire’s camp is preparing to hold its own polls on December 31.
A well-placed source within the church confirmed the visit by Pastor Chikane.
“As you are aware there are fights between Pastor Madziyire and Pastor Chiyangwa. There is a visit by our AFM International president Rev Chikane from South Africa on a fact-finding mission on the two factions to try and bring sanity to the church,” source told the Herald.
“The Government position on the matter is quite clear in that they do not want to interfere with the issue as it is in the courts and they feel that the courts will do a justice to the matter since it is an administrative issue that emanated from the infringement of the church’s constitution.”
The visit marks the second time the South-African Professor has made calls to Zimbabwe this year. Sometime in March, he came following reports that the church was on the verge of a split and met the AFM Zimbabwe leadership at Living Waters Theological College in Tynwald, Harare to find a solution to the long-running battle for control of the mega-church.
It was established back then that Prof. Chikane held marathon meetings to build bridges between two warring camps.
After the Prof. Chikane meeting, it was resolved that elections were to be shelved until the church constitutional reform process was complete.
In a joint letter signed by Pastor Madawo and Dr Madziyire dated March 22, 2018, the Apostolic Council meeting, attended by Prof. Chikane, resolved that the reform process proceeds.
“Following the meeting of Apostolic Council held on March 22, 2018, the following resolutions were made;
- The April 14, 2018 workers’ council was cancelled.
- The constitution reforms process (is) to resume.
- Provincial chairpersons to work hand in hand with the constitution reforms committee to ensure that the process goes on smoothly in their respective provinces.”
Sadly, the agreement did not hold much water after the prof. turned his back and the power wrangle would continue, burning with counter-suspensions reigning supreme in the top leadership of the church.
The long-running fight is threatening to split the church which has millions of followers across Zimbabwe.
With Rev Chikane intervening again, the biggest question then becomes, will he do it right this time? Is he going to defuse the church row?
There could only be one way to find out.
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